On Relationships and Sports

I am intrigued by the idea that two people can want the same exact thing, yet fight each other. Fight each other about it, doubt that’s what the other person wants, become convinced that the other person doesn’t understand us, believe that the other person won’t change. This happens to us in our intimate relationships, in our marriages, in the connections with have family members. There’s this ideal, this way of being that we long for–two people in sync, understanding, communicating, accepting. We both want it, but for some reason we don’t see eye to eye. We continue to push each other away, not seeing things from the other person’s perspective, not being willing to see things from the other person’s perspective. So where do you go from here? From walls built around our hearts by our fears, negative words we’ve taken too literally, painful memories we’ve refused to let go?

I think that’s the question we still struggle with. And my early morning contemplation leads me to think that the only way two people who want the same thing can achieve that same thing is to realize that simple fact and ask yourself two simple questions:

  1. What is the end goal?
  2. How can I take steps to achieve it?

These are two essential questions of life. They’re seen everywhere, from algebra problems to sports, to saving money and fixing broken relationships. As I head into my senior and final season of softball, I have asked myself this while running on the treadmill, after a difficult indoor practice, as I leave sweaty and jello-legged from a pitching session. What is my end goal? How will I achieve it? My end goal for softball is to have a successful season, to be an All-American, and to lead my team in strikeouts with over 90 K’s and less than 50 walks. There’s an overarching goal of success, but there’s specific underlying goals, these distinct parts of success that I plan to work towards. And the how? The how is attutide, is perseverance, is a continuance despite how exhausted my body feels, despite the failures I might face. The how is six days at the gym, four days on the pitching mound, hours crouched down scoping ground balls and the repetition of bat to ball over and over.

And so as I think of sports, of the dedication athletes put in, the passion, the perseverance, I am struck by how simple it is. What is my goal? How can I achieve it?

For relationships, it must be this same way. We have to see the simple fact that the ones we love want the same things–a relationship, a positive connection, a shoulder to cry on, someone they can be with mentally, physically, emotionally. We must see that we are working towards the same goals. Then it must be a matter of the steps to get there. Like countless practices, the discipline of extra hours, and the passion of returning again and again, despite the failures or backward steps.

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